Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Aniwye

Published on November 10, 2012 by Casey

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Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Aniwye

Name: Aniwye

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Tribal affiliation: Ojibwe, Algonquin, Cree

Alternate spellings: Aniwaaye, Aniwo’ye, Wâniyûyâu

Pronounced: ah-nih-why

Also known as: Mishi-zhigaag, Mi-she-shek-kak, Big-Skunk, Giant Skunk

Type: Monster, giant animal, skunk

Aniwye was a giant man-eating skunk monster of Ojibwe legend who killed people by breaking wind at them, causing them to become sickened and die. Aniwye was defeated by the hero Great Fisher and is often said to have been turned into an ordinary skunk by either Great Fisher or the culture hero Nanabozho, thus explaining why skunks spray. In some versions of the story Aniwye had the appearance of a giant skunk and was simply changed into a smaller and less deadly animal; in others, he was described as a man-eating giant and didn’t have the form of a skunk at all until he was killed and revived as one. “Mishi-zhigaag” or “Mi-she-shek-kak” literally means “giant skunk.”

Source: native-languages Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Aniwye Unabridged. Retrieved May 28, 2015, from website:

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Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Aniwye Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia (accessed: May 28, 2015).

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"Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Aniwye" Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia 28 May. 2015. <>.

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